Sunday, August 24, 2014

Episode 103: "The Way Out" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 103 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Way Out".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! *** 

There are SPOILERS below!  If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.

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The opening shot of the medicine bottles was a very effective way to set the scene and the time period, reminding the audience we're in the 18th century.  The abrupt transition to Claire and Frank in the train station circa 1940(?) was a shock, but I liked the scene very much.

"Woe betide the man who stands between you and what you set your mind upon." - Great line, and I laughed when I heard it.  I also like that Frank finds Claire's stubbornness attractive. <g>

"Promise you'll return to me" is just heartwrenching.  (Another good addition.)  This scene makes Frank a much more sympathetic character, IMHO, and I liked that.

I liked Claire's "Bloody hell!" under her breath when she's doused with cold water. (Did anybody else think of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" when watching this?  Given how much it's been in the news lately, it was kind of hard not to think of it.)

The whole scene with Mrs. Fitz is just terrific!  Very convincing, and I'm glad they didn't make it obvious that it was Claire's imagination.

I liked Claire's "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!" when she sees the slaters. (If you want to see what they look like at close range, see my Friday Fun Facts post here.)

The scene with Colum and the tailor is absolutely priceless -- I loved the whole thing. Gary Lewis played that PERFECTLY. <g> This is one of my favorite scenes in the episode.

I thought that changing the massage scene from Alec (in the book) to Colum here was quite effective. I liked the way Colum went behind the drapes on the other side of the table to take his breeks off, so they didn't have to CGI his legs while he got undressed.

"You don't have demons in Oxfordshire, Mistress?"  "We do. But we call them Scots." - Good line, and I liked the fact that Claire actually made Colum laugh.

I loved Dougal's line at the beginning of the Hall scene: "It seems the feral cat we picked up on the road is trying to pull in her claws."

The scene between Claire, Laoghaire, and Jamie in the Hall was very good, just as I imagined, and also reassuring that they went back to the book.  I liked the way Claire poked Jamie when he said, "naught but a rabble of snot-nosed bairns." <g> Nell Hudson is excellent as L, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her.

Gwyllyn's music is beautiful.

I like the flickering light in the scene between J&C in the surgery. We don't actually need to see the fire in the hearth to know it's there; we can tell by the crackling sounds and the way the light and shadows play across the room. I thought that was very interesting, and effective.

I love the looks J&C are giving each other in this scene, while Claire inspects his injured shoulder. Also, the little sigh Claire gives at the end, when Jamie leaves, as if to say, "Yeah, he's hot, but....Frank!!"

The brief glimpse of the thistles made me smile.  I liked the scene with Geillis and Claire, and Angus is very funny! (I had no trouble telling who he was, in this episode.)

I like the cobbled streets.  I was a little uncertain where this scene was taking place, though.  On the castle grounds somewhere?  It seemed that the Baxter house is within walking distance of the castle, not as far away as Cranesmuir, but I could be wrong.

The scene with Father Bain is riveting and very well done.  He's just mesmerizing. <g>

I liked the way they worked in the alcove scene with Jamie and Laoghaire.  I bet we'll see that bit in flashback later!  And Angus, again, is very funny, the way he looks at Claire approvingly, like a parent with a child who's finally learned to mind him, when he sees she actually stayed put the way he told her to. <g>

The dining scene was very good.  Again, it's reassuring that they went back to the book for this scene, with only minor changes.  I thought it was fine for Murtagh to be the one speaking to Claire (rather than Old Alec, as it is in the book).  We really haven't seen Murtagh interact with her much so far, and this scene helps to make it clearer for the viewers, I think, that Murtagh is always looking out for Jamie's best interests.

"Not jealous of Laoghaire.  Jealous of their intimacy." -- interesting to hear Claire's thoughts here.

In Cranesmuir, I liked the fact that they remembered the diamond-paned windows in the Duncans' house!  (Good attention to detail there!)  Geillis talking about "a born temptress" made me smile -- look who's talking!  And it's clear from some of the things she says that Geillis already suspects Claire might be a time-traveler ("Assuming that's what you mean", etc.)

I love Geillis in this scene (her costume is beautiful), and Arthur is delightful, too. <g>

I caught a minor inconsistency in this bit:
Arthur:  "Stole two bannocks"
Claire, a moment later: "Stealing a loaf of bread"
So, um, which is it? (Too bad the production people didn't notice that. Oops.)

I liked the way they did the rescue of the boy who had his ear nailed to the pillory, very much like the book, and the transition to the Black Kirk scene was very smooth.

Wood garlic vs. lily-of-the-valley -- I'll have to look them up one of these days.  I thought that was fascinating.

I liked the way both Claire and Mrs. Fitz stood up to Father Bain. Good for them! <g>

Good scene with J&C and the horse.  It's not in the book, but it makes sense.

I liked the way they interspersed the song about the wife of Balnain with Claire's memories of Craigh na Dun.  Although, to be honest, I thought the way the lyrics of the song were changed so they EXACTLY paralleled what happened to Claire (touching the tallest stone threw her back in time, etc.) was rather contrived and heavy-handed compared to the way it's done in the book.  (Give the viewers credit for a little intelligence!  We're smart enough to figure it out without bright red flashing arrows pointing to the part we're supposed to take notice of.)

Finally, I liked the way Claire was wearing her hair loose, in the final scene.  She's beginning to relax just a bit, and I think that was a good sign.

My overall impression:  There's a lot to enjoy in this episode.  It's well-acted, well-written, and the music and the cinematography are very good.  But on the initial viewing, I found the deviations from the book rather disconcerting.  (Yes, of course I realize it's an adaptation, but I wasn't really expecting them to be inventing entire subplots that aren't in the book, and that took a while to adjust to.)  I liked this episode MUCH better the second time, now that I know what's going to be different, and what's going to be the same, and I can simply relax and enjoy the story.

And I am really looking forward to next week's episode!  Judging from the previews, it's going to be terrific! <g>

I hope you enjoyed this recap.  You can see my comments on the previous episodes here:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"

Please come back next week for my recap of Episode 104!

21 comments:

Jill Blevins said...

I'm finding myself frustrated at the end of each episode, just as I was when I had to put down the book to do something else. I want it to hurry up, but not end.

Jari Backman said...

Dear Karen,

I think you hit right on the nail in saying that the first viewing is disturbed with one's view from the book.

And when you take another look, the story grows and you will appreciate the adaptation much more.

Dawn Schur said...

But you don't really even notice when something isn't in the books as it kinda seems like it was in the book the way they blend them together...

Betsy Eyrich said...

I noticed the part about two bannocks/loaf of bread, too, but just assumed that Claire said bread rather than bannocks because that is what her 20th century self would think.

Victoria Thor said...

Why pay so much attention to the details of the shape of the window in Geliie's house and not how the characters are physically described? I like the flash backs to WWII - I don't have any problem with those being inserted. I don't like alterations to the story that are not necessary - such as substituting Murtagh for Alec when talking to Claire about the kind of woman Jamie needs. Thats not needed and diminishes Alec's role in Jamie's life. Seems to me that they think they could write a better book. Nonetheless - the sets and costumes are awesome and do soften the other disappointments.

K. M. Springsteen said...

I would have been happier had they actually used lily of the valley. If you look up the two plants - wood garlic and lily of the valley, they DO resemble each other. But what she picked was not either of these plants (not even close). Everything else is so spot on with attention to detail that not even getting a plant the resembles one of those mentioned seems like cheating. I know it's nitpicking and it did NOT detract from the show or the performances. I just wonder why they fudged so badly.

Anonymous said...

I,also, did not like the deviations, but I think they needed to get the viewers to understand the depth of Scottish superstitions, to set up what happens later in Cranesmuir.

buffaloquinn said...

You do realize a bannock is a loaf of bread?

dksaga said...

I loved this episode.

I loved that bit with Mrs. Fitz in Claire's imagination at the very start. It was very effective in really spelling out the reality of the time and the beliefs and how Claire was in incredible danger.

Won't even comment on Sam and Cait because there's nothing else you can say about such perfection.

Everyone was wonderful, without exception. But I especially am floored by Lotte Verbeek. She is perfect as Geillis …. Gorgeous and eerie, all at once.

Karen Charbonneau said...

Did you notice how Gellis kept running her hand over her belly - hello Buck. I've read Outlander twice, but actually thought it was Murtagh who advised her the Jamie needed a woman for a wife, not a child. It is effective in building Murtagh's character.

Shiena said...

I think there was meant to be a touch of sarcasm in Claire's ".....a loaf of bread!". After all isn't that all a bannock is?

Vicky L. Williamson said...

Excellent points, as usual! I especially agree about the folk song's being changed to reflect exactly what happened. The nature of folk songs being passed down causes some "artistic licensing" to change or romanticize the story. And we ARE intelligent enough to make the connection!

Anonymous said...

but they aren't trying to write a book, they're trying to write a hit TV show. Big difference.

time traveler said...

Great rundown of the episode Karen. I though the adaptation was great and was impressed with the way they brought the story line forward in such a condensed manner but retained much of the original dialogue and the integrity of the book. Despite the previews showing Mrs. Fitz calling Claire a witch I had faith that they would not deviate that far from the book and cause a furor among the fans! I look forward to each episode to see the way they manage to transfer the book to screen in unexpected ways even though we know what should happen next. Hopefully non-readers are enjoying it as well! Rita

Lesharon said...

Great review as always Karen. It's interesting to read K.M. Springsteen's post because in the behind the scenes video for this episode, Ron Moore specifically talks about getting the details right with all those scenes with the herbs etc.

My overall take on the series so far is that Claire is being portrayed as waay to comfortable with her situation. As a viewer I don't get the sense of panic of What the hell happened to me! from Claire (not withstanding that "fake" scene with Mrs. Fitz) Maybe that will change in the next episode(s).

Ann Fournier said...

I have watched each episode twice. The first time through I find it is uncomfortable, rather a comparison between the beloved book and the characters on the screen. Or should I say...how I imagined the book playing in my head and how it is being portrayed on the screen? Whatever, the first viewing is a struggle. The second time through, though, for some reason, I can seem to look at it for some new form and appreciate it in a different way.
I am getting there...I think.

Lynn said...

First of all I will have to add to what K. M. Springsteen said, the plant leaves they showed were UNFORTUNATELY not lily of the valley (nor woodgarlic). It grows in England and can be bought at Gardencenters, I really don’t see a reason why that went wrong . . didn’t Ron D. Moore say they had a herbalist?
Knowing they look very similar and there are quite a few people that get poisoned by mistake in Germany every year because they collect lily of the valley leaves which can indeed be lethal (60g for an 80kg adult, so about 30g or less for a kid) – that happens in the spring during the season that woodgarlic can also be found! Woodgarlic or Bärlauch ;-) is becoming popular again, but it also has a short season during which the leaves can be found – so either the boys are totally oblivious to the seasonal aspect of woodgarlic, or the story could have been made to fit the season with them eating the red-orange berries of the lily of the valley, which are at least to be found around autumn.
eve me.
So for me there was another wow effect at the beginning of the episode when Claire says to Frank that they could just give up and all start speaking German! I just then realized that coming from her background in the 1940’s, my heroine would likely never speak one word w/ me and utterly despise me for being German!! How sad is that :-( . . totally understandable as it is . . so good I realise we’re still speaking of a fictional character here, mind you – lol
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Outlander and I can’t wait to here more from you, Karen
Lynn

Connie said...

I liked and appreciated the changes for the most part, but I thought Fr. Bain was over the top. The rest of the characters have a high level of believability; not so with Fr. Bain, for me. Nevertheless, I am over the moon with what a good job they are doing, and Lotte Verbeek is stealing the show as Geillis. Loved her red shoes! 2nd viewing does make accepting the changes easier.

Anonymous said...

Wrong leaves! The plant shown appears to have been a climber with glossy leaves, totally unlike the pale green Lily of the Valley which is less than 6 inches tall and would have disappeared, dormant long before November. By then full heavy frosts will have occurred and even For-get-me-nots would have withered and died, certainly not flowering on a wind blasted hilltop in the Highlands. sorry to nitpick but otherwise just love the film. totally captivated.

Anonymous said...

I thought Fr Bain's portrayal very realistic. God's Wrath and religious persecution, burning and burying alive women accused of being witches was not uncommon in Scotland as well as the U.S. Could only have been carried out by zealots who instilled terror and demanded obedience.

AmyK said...

I'm with you Anonymous - Lily of the Valley and Forget-me-nots are spring perennials - one of my first thoughts when I realized what flowers the were depicting. In the books, Claire travels through the stones in May - around Beltane - not in the fall around Samhain. Why this 6 month shift in time, that's what I'm wondering?